Will Juan Manuel Marquez provide the upset of the year
36-year old Juan Manuel Marquez enters the ring tonight to take on Floyd Mayweather jr for a welterweight contest at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The smart money at the bookies is pouring on Mayweather to make a grand statement upon his return to the ring following two years of retirement.
However, one or two people are quietly confident that the smaller, older Mexican warrior can upset all the odds and take this fight. At first you may think that they are throwing money down the drain, but on closer examination there are quite a few factors that have convinced them to place the odds on Marquez other than pure Mexican pride or the fact he drinks his own power-urine.
One of the main reasons is 'activity vs inactivity'.
When we look at Floyd's last few bouts (Wrestling aside) then we obviously have to look back almost two years to when he overcame Ricky 'the Hitman' Hatton. It was a sterling performance by Mayweather but it cannot go without saying that the over zealous nature of referee Joe Cortez squashed any chance of the body-punching Hitman to ply his rough trade on the pretty boy.
Six months earlier Floyd took on Oscar De La Hoya at 154lb. Floyd won via a split decision in a fight many gave the nod to the Golden Boy. Many preferred the aggression of Oscar to the sublime, but somewhat unexciting defence and countering technique shown by Mayweather.
Then we have to zoom way back to 2006 for Floyds previous fight, which was a fight so ordinary, that people booed and left before the final bell was rung. That fight was against Carlos Baldomir who many felt was tough but extremely one dimensional and a limited opponent who was quite simply, tailor made for Floyd to defeat.
Meanwhile over the last two years and a couple of weight classes below we have seen Juan Manuel Marquez go from one dominating and dangerous performance to another.
Marquez has dominated Marco Antonio Barrera and Rocky Juarez with impressive points wins. He has also stepped up to lightweight and knocked out the main man in Joel Casamayor (36-3), handing him his first stoppage loss in a stellar career to date. Casamayor had only just knocked out the bull strong Michael Katsidis before his fight with Marquez. Nobody though Juan would win, let alone by stoppage.
If that result didn't get much press Marquez then took on the Houston pressure fighter Juan 'baby bull' Diaz (34-1) and after a give and take over the rounds he rallied to hand Diaz his first stoppage loss too.
The above results are impressive and on that run of form you could see how the promoters could sell a fight against Marquez to the public and they would perhaps think it would not be too much of a mismatch apart from the obvious weight disparity.
But the cherry on the cake for Marquez is that he went toe to toe with another fighter who's career has gone supersonic lately. That fighter is Manny Pacquiao.
The whole boxing world is divided over who actually won their two fights. Personally i certainly thought Marquez did enough to win the first fight with ease and was unlucky not to get the decision despite his torrid opening round.
Their second fight was much closer with Pacquiao, with the Pinoy showing some remarkable improvements in some areas of his game. But after getting floored again in the third round, the vast majority of all the boxing press including ESPN, Yahoo, Friday Night Fight's Brian Kenny, Graham Houston, Boxingscene to Doghouse all gave Marquez the win.
Infact even fellow Pinoy and Pacquiao's friend Nonito Donaire gave it to Marquez by a point.
So in closing, let's underline the fact that yes, the smart money IS on Mayweather given his size advantage and sublime ability. But these same people are also slipping a crafty dollar on Marquez.
So what do you think ?
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Marquez highlights against Pacquiao :-